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How to Avoid Mediocre Leadership in Trying Times

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In today’s complex world, leaders are being asked to step up in dynamic and unexpected ways.

Unfortunately, many of them are not equipped with the tools they need to lead under pressure. As a result, they fail to serve themselves and their employees effectively, and put the future of their entire organization at risk.

The Behaviors That Result in Mediocre Leadership

Today’s infographic from Vince Molinaro’s Accountable Leaders reveals the common behaviors that can result in leaders becoming mediocre due to mounting day-to-day pressures.

mediocre leadership infographic

Order Vince Molinaro’s new book, Accountable Leaders

Leadership accountability is one of the most important ingredients for driving business growth and maintaining a healthy corporate culture.

How can leaders set the tone for accountability in their organization?

Accountable Leaders Invest in Themselves

Every leader has an obligation to their employees, their customers and their community, but failing to put themselves first could have serious consequences—and cause a ripple effect across other parts of the business.

In fact, 40% to 80% of a manager’s time is spent on activities that add little to no value, when the majority of their time should be spent investing in their personal development.

By not having a holistic view of their development, leaders succumb to the day-to-day challenges that come with managing a company, such as:

  • Getting in over their head
  • Confusing acting rough with tough
  • Mistaking effort for results
  • Feeling like the victim
  • Being insecure and unable to use their voice
  • Constantly needing to hear good news
  • Needing to win at all costs
  • Waiting for permission to act from senior leaders
  • Being driven to distraction and lacking focus
  • Not learning from past mistakes

Moreover, if leaders struggle to meet expectations, the risk is that they either give up, or ultimately become a mediocre leader—but what exactly does that look like?

The Characteristics of a Mediocre Leader

Mediocre leadership has become remarkably commonplace, yet it is not always easy for organizations to identify.

Here are the five problematic characteristics of a mediocre leader:

  1. Blames others: Never personally acknowledges their role or contribution to any mistake or failure.
  2. Selfish and self-serving: Regularly acts out of self-interest and brings a sense of entitlement to the role.
  3. Uncivil and mean: Routinely mistreats, demeans and insults others, usually in public.
  4. Inept and incompetent: Makes bad decisions, resulting in a trail of disaster behind them.
  5. Lacks initiative: Looks for the easy way out by deflecting responsibility.

Leaders cite several reasons for falling into this mediocre leadership trap, including their fear failure, having unclear leadership expectations, and being overloaded with tasks that could be delegated elsewhere.

The Danger of Mediocre Leadership

It comes as no surprise that this style of leadership has a negative impact on employees, with 73% claiming that they spend a significant amount of time dealing with problems that arise from an ineffective manager.

However, employees will put up with a mediocre leader because they find the work itself meaningful, or they value the relationship they have with their peers.

But while mediocre leaders can bring a team closer together through their collective misery, eventually this reaches a tipping point which could result in a high staff turnover or low rates of employee engagement.

Avoid a Culture of Mediocrity

As we navigate uncertain waters, leaders must not only demonstrate agility and resilience—they must also advocate for a culture of accountability.

”Senior leaders create the culture and set the tone for the organization. It’s imperative that they drive the set of behaviors influencing the behaviors of the next line leaders.”

—Molinaro, Vince (2020), Accountable Leaders.

But in order to maintain accountability across an organization, mediocre behavior must be addressed, and difficult decisions will need to be made.

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The World’s Biggest Fashion Companies by Market Cap

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) is the industry’s biggest player by a wide margin.

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Bubble chart showing the world’s biggest fashion companies by market cap.

The World’s Biggest Fashion Companies by Market Cap

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Fashion is one of the largest industries globally, accounting for 2% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).

In this graphic, we use data from CompaniesMarketCap to showcase the world’s 12 largest publicly traded fashion companies, ranked by market capitalization as of Jan. 31, 2024.

LVMH Reigns Supreme

European countries dominate the list of the biggest fashion companies, with six in total. The U.S. boasts four companies, while Japan and Canada each have one.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) is the industry’s biggest player by a wide margin. The company boasts an extensive portfolio of luxury brands spanning fashion, cosmetics, and liquor, including Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Fendi, and Dior, the latter of which holds a 41% ownership stake in the global luxury goods company.

RankCountryNameMarket Cap (USD)
1🇫🇷 FranceLVMH421,600,000,000
2🇺🇸 United StatesNike153,830,000,000
3🇫🇷 FranceDior145,861,000,000
4🇪🇸 SpainInditex134,042,000,000
5🇺🇸 United StatesTJX Companies108,167,000,000
6🇯🇵 JapanFast Retailing81,489,917,976
7🇺🇸 United StatesCintas61,285,867,520
8🇨🇦 Canadalululemon57,267,998,720
9🇫🇷 FranceKering50,900,207,000
10🇺🇸 United StatesRoss Stores47,227,502,592
11🇩🇪 GermanyAdidas32,535,078,209
12🇸🇪 SwedenH&M25,564,163,571

As a result of the success of the company, in 2024, LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault overtook Elon Musk as the richest person in the world.

In second place, Nike generated 68% of its revenue in 2023 from footwear. One of the company’s most popular brands, the Jordan Brand, generates around $5 billion in revenue per year.

The list also includes less-known names like Inditex, a corporate entity that owns Zara, as well as several other brands, and Fast Retailing, a Japanese holding company that owns Uniqlo, Theory, and Helmut Lang.

According to McKinsey & Company, the fashion industry is expected to experience modest growth of 2% to 4% in 2024, compared to 5% to 7% in 2023, attributed to subdued economic growth and weakened consumer confidence. The luxury segment is projected to contribute the largest share of economic profit.

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